Rolling Stone Australia has confirmed that it will run the article from its American counterpart about Boston marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but it will not run the cover that is currently sparking outrage across America and online.
Several retail chains in Boston have refused to stock the August issue of the US magazine due to its controversial cover for its article ‘The Bomber’ that sees Tsarnaev featured as its cover star.
Public criticism said that the cover and particular choice of photo glorifies 19-year old Boston bombings suspect, and offends families of the victims. However, the photograph has also been on the front of The New York Times.
In response to the outrage, Rolling Stone US magazine made the statement that the article “falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.”
Rolling Stone Australia’s editor-in-chief Matt Coyte told B&T that it wouldn’t run the cover because the event of the Boston marathon bombing is not as relevant to its Australian market.
“It’s not as deep a wound here,” Coyte said.
“We wouldn’t pretend it’s an area as much of a concern for Australia.”
The Australian magazine runs both the American covers as well as creating those for the local market depending on content.
While the outrage had been that the cover was glorifying Tsarnaev, Coyte disagreed.
“I don’t see it as particularly radical,” he said, referring to others such as the 1970 cover of musician and mass murderer Charles Manson.
“What makes [the Tsarnaev cover] cool is in the eye of the beholder.”
Commenting on whether it was a PR stunt to raise readership, Coyte said most of American magazine sales are subscription based so the industry doesn’t rely on grabbing attention on newsstands as much as it does here. While the response online has seen many people vow they would no longer buy Rolling Stone US, he believes a fall out wouldn’t be noticed until subscription renewals.
Rolling Stone Australia has not yet decided who would be on the August issue.
“Somebody much more exciting,” Coyte said.